Politics and the Limits of a Science of Governance: Some Reflections on the Thought of Bernard Crick


Michael Spicer is a professor of public administration and urban affairs in the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University. His publications include Public Administration and the State (University of Alabama Press, 2001) and The Founders, the Constitution, and Public Administration (Georgetown University Press, 1995). He is currently engaged in research on the role of the history of ideas in the study, practice, and teaching of public administration.
E-mail: mike@wolf.csuohio.edu


This paper examines Bernard Crick’s ideas on the nature of politics and explores their implications for a scientific approach to governance like that advocated recently by public management writers. It is argued here that such an approach generally downplays the inherently political character of governance because it ignores the conflicts of values and the uncertainty that are an inherent part of the way in which we have come to govern ourselves.